The Kinks - Album by Album (song by song)

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by mark winstanley, Apr 4, 2021.

  1. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
    As far as I know, Ray was NOT a tax exile ever. He had an apartment on the Upper West Side (I believe). I get the impression he didn't live there, but probably spent a good deal of time hopping from England to NYC.
  2. Wondergirl

    Wondergirl Forum Resident

    Massachusetts, USA
    Good one!
  3. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Who can blame him, I'd be doing the same in shoes!
  4. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    I’m thinking of a major shakeup in the playlist categorizations. Currently I have tracks loosely grouped according to my idea of (vague?) similarity. So the large contingent from Muswell Hillbillies is included with Pye and the Schoolboys songs are tucked in with Phase III instead of with their RCA compatriots. But it’s clear (now, I didn’t know this until reaching this far into the discography) Schoolboys don’t have any more to do with Arista as they (to my ears) do with the other RCA albums.

    Record company divisions might make more sense.
    Pye/Muswell: 83 + Second Chapter 14 + Phase III 9*
    Pye: 74 + RCA 26 + Arista 6*

    *tentative (through Misfits)

    Yeah, I think I’ll rearrange.
  5. TeddyB

    TeddyB Senior Member

    I love this song. I always have. The lyric about leaving England for a native island seems a bit more suspect by 1977 in terms of Colonialism (though it could be yet another in the many sequels to Sunny Afternoon), but this is probably my Number One very favorite Kinks song of the late 70’s! I think Headmaster said “infectious” and it is exactly that. Really a great sounding record and blatant ear worm. The lyrics flow as music, and the vocal is inviting. I wonder if when Christgau was talking about hummable melodies, this was one he had in mind.

    Note: just noticed I missed some earlier posts comparing this to Sunny Afternoon and Most Exclusive Residence For Sale. Good on ya!
  6. ThereOnceWasANote

    ThereOnceWasANote Forum Resident

    Cape May, NJ
    In A Foreign Land

    Maybe my favorite song on the album. It kind of starts out like Victoria with the chuga chuga guitar then Ray comes in with his higher register 60s voice. This is the type of song the Kinks do so well. It has all the ingredients of a great Kinks song ( as someone said earlier could also serve as the next chapter for the Sunny Afternoon gent). It's a tough, rollicking little rocker that ably does its business in about 3 minutes and is gone just like the guy zipping off to the foreign land. Can't get enough of this one.
  7. markelis

    markelis Forum Resident

    Miami Beach FL
    I have been creating a couple of playlists as we go. I think I’ll wait till towards the end before I lay out how I did it.
  8. All Down The Line

    All Down The Line Senior Member

    Hopefully though the messiah's wart was not all in his foreign land!
    Wondergirl, DISKOJOE and markelis like this.
  9. markelis

    markelis Forum Resident

    Miami Beach FL
    Foreign Land:

    Another one I ignored for 40 years. I am not sure why in retrospect. i quite like it. It’s a catchy little early new wavey Tom Petty style number. Dave gets off a good solo and, as always, Ray makes weird topics catchy. Like Black Messiah and Hay Fever, it seems a bit lightweight but not every song has to have deep meaning. It’ll make the playlist, even if only for the ending la la las.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2022
  10. mark winstanley

    mark winstanley Certified dinosaur, who likes physical product Thread Starter

    Permanent Waves

    stereo mix, recorded 24-28 Oct, 1977 at Konk Studios, Hornsey, London

    Please call a doctor, I've been so depressed
    That I think that I'm finally breakin'
    I can't quite explain, I can't feel any pain
    But I know that this time I'm not fakin'
    Oh, what can it be, oh, inside of me

    I saw my doctor he said man you look sick
    He said I think you better do something quick
    He checked me over and he said I was fit
    What you need is a change, have a shave, find a chick
    Your body functions but your hair's a disgrace
    You shouldn't let it hang all over your face
    Change your image 'cos you look out of place
    Comb your hair, put on weight, try to look up to date

    Why don't you put in some permanent waves
    You'll look smooth, you'll look cool, you'll be laughing
    You'll get lots of dates, you'll be made, you'll get laid
    You'll get out and about, you'll be laughing
    Oh, you'll be O.K. once you get those permanent waves

    I was really up but now I'm down once again
    I went out walking and it started to rain
    My perm washed out it just got flushed down the drain
    My neurosis returned, I'm a wreck once again
    But wait 'til I get back my permanent waves
    I'll be cool, I'll be smooth, I'll be laughing
    I'll be all the rage in my permanent waves
    And I'll start a new craze, I'll be laughing
    Oh, I'll be O.K. once I get my permanent waves

    Written by: Ray Davies
    Published by: Davray Music Ltd.

    Ahhhh the perm ....

    For those unaware -
    Believe it or not, perms have been around for over 100 years. Perms are a chemical treatment used to alter your hair’s natural texture. Taking straight hair and adding a curl or wave. “Perm” is short for “permanent hairstyle” because they are—well—permanent. The chemical process permanently alters your hair’s structure from straight to curly.

    Traditionally, perms are a process in which straight hair is wrapped around rollers or rods, and a perm solution is applied to the hair—this is what is known as a cold perm. There is also a method where straight hair is wrapped around rods, a perm solution is applied, and the rods heat up to activate the perm—restructuring your hair’s follicles with heat. This is called a digital perm. You can get perms with medium-length hair, long hair, fine hair, and short hair.

    Cold or digital, a perm is a chemical solution applied to the hair to make one styling session last for months. But be warned, a perm takes a heck of a lot longer than your typical blowout. If you do decide to get one, expect to spend two or more hours at the salon.
    In the seventies and eighties these seemed to be the big thing in hair, ... or at least advertised as such. I only ever knew girls to get perms, and every couple of years they would advertise them as being new and improved...
    The reason I know about these is that my Mum and Sister would go and get these.... I remember twice each distinctly, because much to my amazement both times they came back from the hairdresser literally crying about the result.... and frankly I thought it was quite bewildering as a young pup
    a- it's just hair
    b- you paid someone to make it curly, and now it's curly, so what's the problem.

    One thing that seems to be somewhat universal in my experiences, and I'm not saying there aren't exceptions to the rule, but most women I have ever met with straight hair want curls, and most women with curls I have ever known want straight hair.... and it is totally weird to me, but I guess I am just one of those insensitive males who should be locked up lol

    I never knew about guys getting one. Where I went to school, if a guy had gotten a perm, .... it probably wouldn't have gone well for them.... and in the vernacular of the day they would have been almost certainly called, with no offence meant to anyone, "a poof"...

    Later in the eighties, it seems that the perm took on a new life amongst rock bands, and the eighties, the age of hair, in many ways, seemed to change the way folks looked at men's hair, and many rock folk were getting the perm, and it was all a bit weird......

    So I come into this song with some background, and just the fact that Ray wrote a song about this in 77/78 already makes this hilarious to me..

    Essentially this is sort of an update of what folks here seem to have generally referred to as the Kinks T Rex style, and I reckon that fits pretty well here.

    Lyrically, essentially we have a song about a depressed guy who has been encouraged by his Doctor to get a Perm. the Doctor has examined him and can't find anything at all wrong with him. so the Dr suggests that our guy gets a Perm to change his outlook, and make him feel good about himself.

    With lines like
    "What you need is a change, have a shave, find a chick"
    "Your body functions but your hair's a disgrace"
    it is already hilarious to me.

    Perhaps Ray could see into the future, because this instantly makes me think of the eighties and the advancement in pop star hairstyles... we all thought it was hilarious... and of course being young guys, we made fun of a lot of the eighties artists for this fascination with hairstyles.... of course now being an old guy, I just wish I still had a full head of hair lol

    This song may come across as lightweight, but really this is an interesting exploration of mental health.
    We have this guy who is depressed, gets a perm, and he feels better about himself. Then he goes out in the rain and the perm washes out, and he is depressed again. It seems like a commentary on our focus on changing the outside, when it is the inside that needs looking at. We don't fix problems, we just dress them up in new clothes and it satisfies for a while, but it doesn't fix anything, and as soon as the novelty, or effect has worn off, we are back in the same boat we were prior.

    We also get a little look at the, seemingly, main driving force behind everything in the world, once you take money out of the equation
    "You'll get lots of dates, you'll be made, you'll get laid"

    For a song that comes across as somewhat a lighthearted somewhat farcical song, there is actually a lot of content and human observation in this track, and for me this is another great track on this album.....

    Musically this track is top class.
    We start with this irresistible pulsing groove, that is somewhat a cousin to Get It On, but certainly not the same.
    The guitar cruises along with that cool staccato groove and the keys add a really nice counterpoint to that. There is also an alternate guitar that adds some hammered on suspended chords and that works well also.

    The vocal melody has a great feel, and it dances all around the chords beautifully.
    We get to a nice hook with the "oooohhhh" and it is followed by a nice guitar lick that is essentially a pull off, but really effective.

    For the most part the chord structure is fairly simple, but we get some really well placed variant chords put in there that really brighten up the melodic flow, and make this song step up above being just some three chord boogie.

    Dave gets a really nice little lead break in there too, and the backing vocals holding those choral chords is another nice flavour in the mix.

    One thing I have noticed about this album as we have looked more closely at it, is just about every song could have been a single.... Ray has made an album with all these excellent songs that are full of hooks and melodies that seem like they could have been hits in the late seventies, and this one is no exception.

    I'm not really sure what else to say about this one.... it manages to be lightweight, touch on deeper meanings without being oppressive and heavy, it is hummable, singable, catchy, fun, and musical..... It's a great damn song.

  11. croquetlawns

    croquetlawns Forum Resident

    More funny Ray - what's not to love?! The lyric reminds me a bit of I Can Make You A Man from the Rocky Horror Show (a weakling, weighing 98 pounds etc).
  12. Fortuleo

    Fortuleo Used to be a Forum Resident

    The guy’s sick, so he goes to the doctor. We’ve seen him consult doctors before, haven’t we? This time, to make his life “less complicated” (it’s always about depression, since the great Muswell singalong), the doctor’s advice is to get a new haircut! But when it rains, all is lost, because the waves weren’t so “permanent” after all. This is killer stuff.

    Musically, we go back to boogie Kinks, only with a synth twist. It’s almost a mock-modernist rewrite of something like Here Comes the People I Grey, complete with a dirty robotic (though wobbly) groove, taking the T-rex thing further, and foreshadowing some 80’s stuff, like Genesis’ Abacab or Dire Straits’ Money for Nothing. It seems to me the little guitar hook comes from the riff of Wings Letting Go. When a riff is that generic, you can lift it, can you? Ray will do worst (or better) soon enough in that department… I like the “ooooh- what can it be / oooh- inside of me” chorus, also very Wings (Letting Go by way of Girlschool). For its part, the doctor bridge is melodically reminiscent of Denmark Street/When Work Is over. Not the most inspired moment in the song probably, but with lots of funny lines. The second time around (“I was really up but I’m down once again”), we get some high-pitched synth notes that I see as the give-away that they don't just have fun with the lyrics, but with the music too. This song should have horns all the way but as it turns out, those gloriously awkward analog synths replace them for the better. Music and lyrics, this must be one of the most absurd songs in the Kinks’ catalogue but it’s a success through and through. I’ve long neglected because of my stupid preconceived ideas about late seventies/early eighties sounds but this morning’s listen was another of my big personal thread breakthroughs. Fantastic!
  13. Martyj

    Martyj Who dares to wake me from my slumber? -- Mr. Flash

    Maryland, USA
    I've always liked this poppy little number. An album highlight for me.
  14. markelis

    markelis Forum Resident

    Miami Beach FL
    Permanent Waves: Fine, silly song number 4 on the album so far. Yet another I ignored for four decades, I guess I didn’t hear a Live Life riff-fest and tuned it out. This one seems even more new waveish even than Foreign Land’s early Petty rockin’ new wave style. I like it, silly as it may be.

    Although not a top favorite, it’s still fun, still great. Even if I didn’t like it, I’d put this on my playlist for sentimental reasons. My Dad had a perm in the late 70s. I mentioned he liked to cruise around in his 1976 red covette t-top with his buddy, Dave, following in his yellow t-top ’76 vette. I failed to mention that they both had perms too. They were quite the spectacle. I was mortified at the time, but the scars have now faded, thankfully.

    Remind me to tell you all the story of what happened to the corvette someday
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2022
  15. ARL

    ARL Forum Resident

    "Permanent Waves"

    Must admit I'd never linked this with T.Rex before, but listening now the similarity is there. But then again I've only been listening closely to T.Rex for the last year, and the synths also move it away from that space. I really like that fuzzy deep synth on this one, especially when the doctor is giving his diagnosis. The idea of the doctor diagnosing a bad hairstyle is hilarious - how different would Paul Simon's "Run That Body Down" have been if his doctor had come to the same conclusion?

    I like this one - I don't find it particularly memorable or outstanding, but it's one of the stronger tracks on the album for me, and it's possibly as synth-heavy as The Kinks ever got?

    If you want to see the effect of the perm craze, watch a British football match from the late 70s/early 80s and marvel at the players' coiffures.

    Were Rush fans of this song, given that they released an album with the same name a couple of years later?
  16. stewedandkeefed

    stewedandkeefed Came Ashore In The Dead Of The Night

    "Permanent Waves" is a catchy tune and it has a pretty witty and funny lyric. Of course, Ray's narrator is a hypochondriac and visits the docior but his problem turns out to be his hair! That is pretty funny to me. The "permanent" of the title turns out to be a "perm" for his hair. Love the boogie of the band towards the end of the song. It is pretty lightweight stuff but a lot of Kinky fun.
  17. Vangro

    Vangro Forum Resident

    Don't have a lot of time for this song, it's not quite "Hay Fever" level of lyrical inanity but it's not far off it. I thought Ray might slip some satirical comment in there about new wave/ punk but it literally is just a song about a hairstyle. Musically it just doesn't do anything very interesting and the chorus is pretty simplistic and forgettable. Coming straight after "In a Foreign Land", it's in a similar vein but not as good.
  18. Zeki

    Zeki Forum Resident

    Permanent Wave: As the songs been playing in my mind I suddenly clicked on what the beginning part reminds me of:
    “Please call a doctor, I've been so depressed
    That I think that I'm finally breakin”

    “Celia, you're breaking my heart
    You're shaking my confidence daily”
    I gotta say I wasn’t expecting that (!) but it must be the phrasing that strikes me as similar or triggered the association.

    This is another good song that could have been released as a single. I guess the album is chock full of ‘single’ material (as I agree with Mark that yesterday’s song, ‘In A Foreign Land,’ was yet another candidate).

    5 out of 6 in terms of likes (though this won’t make my playlist).
  19. pablo fanques

    pablo fanques Somebody's Bad Handwroter

    Poughkeepsie, NY
    "Permanent Waves" was another instant fave once I garnered the Velvel reissue circa 1998. I have the original U.S. vinyl as well but I believe that came from my former radio stations record purge upon switching to all CD and being shelved until I had a proper home turntable to rock out with. What an album this has turned out to be!
  20. folkfreak

    folkfreak The cold blooded penguin

    Like Permanent waves very much.
  21. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    Todays song is the perfect excuse to post this bit of 1964 footage that I forgot to post back when it was era appropriate: a little UK newsreel (the news and real life interest support features that used to be shown in cinemas pre and for a little while post TV news becoming widespread) spotlighting the Kinks going to a hair salon. It's the kampest little vignette ever, esp when Mick is seen reading the woman's magazine. Incidentally Pete Quaife did the opposite of getting 'Permanent Waves' during most of this time in The Kinks, as latterly he always had his naturally curly hair straightened:

  22. Endicott

    Endicott Forum Resident

    Permanent Waves

    Not the Rush album...

    One of the album's comedy tossoffs, this song is enjoyable enough but I don't find it as effective as "Hay Fever". Most of that is due to the arrangement -- some describe the Arista era as bland and sterile, and (as we've seen and will see) that's usually a grossly unfair characterization, but this particular song, to my ears, lives up (down?) to the stereotype. I find it musically kind of faceless, very (pardon the term) yacht-rockish -- this sounds like a routine Toto or late-period Doobie Brothers cut. It's as seventies as the hairstyle it describes. The intro does sound a bit like "Bang a Gong".

    But it IS funny. That verse about the rain washing away his carefully crafted curly locks is worth the whole song.

    Wonder if George Harrison was listening. He got permed up around that time.
  23. ajsmith

    ajsmith Forum Resident

    I always thought there was meant to be a pun in the use of the term 'Wave' there, even if the lyric doesn't make it explicit. After all, Ray probably was seriously thinking about changing his hairstyle to help reposition his fortunes circa when this song was written, as by 1978 he was sporting not a perm but shorter, newave friendly hair definitely intended to read as 'I'm not part of the long hair old guard'.

    This song kind of reminds me lyric wise of early 80s Sparks: ie it's a knowingly absurd song about a somewhat superficial character who tries to solve their issues through changing their appearance or a surface level quality: a bit like ' Funny Face' or 'Instant Weight Loss'. And also in that it's a band punching below their weight content wise and not caring what the audience think.
    Last edited: Mar 17, 2022
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  24. Jasper Dailey

    Jasper Dailey Forum Resident

    Southeast US
    Permanent Waves: I don't have a lot to say about this one, but I love it and I think it's peak Kinks silliness. Those early synthesizers are always a trip. The only complaint I have... why didn't Ray add some nice farty Moog bass synths on the bottom end for this song? And instead of writing this one about a guy getting a perm, why didn't he sing about dings and dangs, or what the planets mean instead?
  25. The late man

    The late man Forum Resident

    Very pleasant song again. I'm glad the Wings "Let it go" rip-off was spotted, it really bothers me. I don't think it's that generic a riff, it seems to me the notes are very similarly phrased and repeated.

    Much like Hay Fever, I don't see it as a shallow song. It's fun but it makes an interesting point about how morale can be both boosted and driven down by appearance. And we may laugh at it but it's not that easy to shake off, especially when you're young and you live in an environment that rewards good looks and chastises bad taste. Of course, with age, you realise how ridiculous it is and grow out of it. That is, up to a point, Rays haircut in the early 80s is clearly beyond the boundaries of reason and good taste.

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